Your Veterinary Voice Episode 13: Meet Andy Roark, DVM, MS

July 25, 2017

We go deep with Dr. Roark on such topics as social media as a "relationship accelerator," that scary E-word (entrepreneurship) and new graduates coming into there own as business people.

If you've ever seen Andy Roark, DVM, MS, present at any CVC-whether solo, with his improv partner Meg Pierson, or likeminded educators such as Dr. Dave Nicol-you know the passion and energy he brings to the table. Let's just say it: The guy can get wound up (in the best possible way). Naturally, we were thrilled to have a spirited, multifaceted conversation with Dr. Roark in this episode of Your Veterinary Voice.

We got him fired up right away: When asked if he thinks there are enough entrepreneurs in veterinary medicine, Dr. Roark replies with an emphatic “no”-several emphatic nays, in fact. He really can't believe this is even up for discussion. Citing the changing landscape of the field, Dr. Roark says the opportunities for innovation are everywhere. He points to the likes of his classmates Drs. Dani McVety and Mary Gardner, whose work through Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice has changed the way veterinarians address end-of-life care, and Dr. Mark Alcott, whose VitusVet app is taking client communication in new directions.

• Want to know what other apps veterinary clinics are using? Follow the link to find out what Dr. Caitlin DeWilde has to recommend.

• Feeling entrepreneurial, but don't know where to start? Dr. Mike Paul thinks the opportunity for entrepreneurship presents itself on a regular basis. Check out his 10 ways to be a successful entrepreneur in veterinary medicine.

Turning to another hot topic-the state of new veterinary graduates-Dr. Roark is also optimistic. He believe students are ready, even in the face of looming student loan payments: “I think that vet students more than ever are aware of their financial position, and honestly, I think they're more business savvy.” He says that the awareness of debt loads is forcing graduates to take ownership of their financial situation, which in turn influences the way they think about and conduct business. (Take a look at how one first-year vet student is remaining optimistic even staring down $300k in debt.) Jump to 8:44 to get into the money.

Aside from his many appearances, fans of Andy Roark keep up with the doctor online. His own website is a robust source of creative and informational content, and his other platforms are lively and interactive. The guy has harnessed social media. So we had to pick his brain on that topic. (Skip to 13:38 to jump right in.) Though Facebook, Instagram et al. are beneficial to practices, Dr. Roark is dubious about those channels' ability to build business.

Social media, however, can cement relationships with existing clients and help to manage your clinic's online reputation: You're likely being talked about, so simply ignoring the chatter does no good. (Listen to the anecdote at 16:33 to hear how one clinic chose not to address an online firestorm.) Dr. Roark says you can build positivity by being systematic about cultivating good reviews and by simply practicing with integrity.

• Social media is a lot of work, right? Follow this plan from CVC educator Bill Schroeder to ensure your platforms are earning their keep.

One more thing: Want to hear about Andy's spirit animal? Jump to 27:39. (And click the link to see the magnificent creature in action.)